Annette Obrestad has been nothing short of excellent recently. Her dominant play as "Annette_15" in Multi-Table Tournaments at the $100 level and above has gotten her noticed by the online poker community as a whole. She's fresh off her first major live tournament in Aruba, where she went deep in a field of over 500 players to finish 37th. Annette also holds the recent distinction of being the first female player to be awarded the Triple Crown on Pocketfives. She's in her last year of school right now in Norway, studying to become a decorator. High school, that is. That's right, online poker's hottest new phenom is just 18 years old. With plans to focus on poker even more in the future, things already look very bright for this promising player. Get ready to meet Annette_15.
PSMoney: You're a young woman from Norway... Not exactly the stereotypical poker player. How did you become involved in poker?
Annette: I've always enjoyed games and I've been playing cards my entire life. I played a lot with my dad when I was younger and he taught me how to play 5 card stud. I was never good at it though... When I got a little older I started bowling and I was in a club for many years. I sat down to watch bowling on TV, and I saw a 'multipoker.com'-banner in the background. Curious that I am, I opened an account and started playing 7 stud hi/lo play money sng's... Haha, I know you're laughing, but that's how it all started. I found out about hold'em shortly after and started playing freerolls on UB (Ultimate Bet). Then I happened to get lucky and win $9 that I built my bankroll off. I've never deposited since.
PSMoney: Everyone's noticed your success on Stars--well, on a lot of sites-- lately. Have you changed anything? Did you suddenly have a big breakthrough in your game? Or is everything just falling into place?
Annette: I remember back when I was building my bankroll and I was playing really tight, not making moves, never bluffed, just played ABC poker all day. That got me to a certain point and I knew I could beat the low stakes games. I had a long period where nothing happened and I just felt like I was stuck. I realized that in order to move up and be able to beat the big guys playing the higher buy in tourneys, I had to change my game. So I started experimenting with raising marginal hands that I usually wouldn't play and decided to improve my post flop play even if that meant looking like a donk for a while. After making many funny moves and a lot of mistakes, I finally got the hang of it and I think that's when I really started winning a lot. The transition from TAG to a more LAGgy style helped a lot and I'm going to keep working on that as much as I can and keep plugging the small leaks.
PSMoney: It's been said that women play more on feel. Would you consider yourself more of a "math-based" player or a "reads-based" player?
Annette: I definitely play more by reads. I'm not a math person at all but I know most of the basics.
PSMoney: Do you have any poker role models or mentors?
Annette: I've always been a fan of P0ker H0 on Ultimate Bet. He's a great player and fun to watch and also a nice person in real life! Johnnybax and Actionjeff are also some of my favorites.
PSMoney: There has been some discussion on Internet forums like Pocketfives lately about your age and the fact that you were playing online when you were 17. Some have gone so far as to question how you were raised. If you have a child who wants to start playing poker, when do you think is an appropriate age to learn? At what point would you let your son or daughter start playing online, and would your opinion be swayed by the fact that the legal age to play is almost universally at least 18?
Annette: Yeah, I've seen that. I haven't really bothered answering because I don't care what people think about it. But since you're asking... I don't think that my parents have made a mistake by letting me play poker. I asked my mum if I could use her credit card to make a deposit before I won that freeroll, and she said no. So the only choice I had was to start with $0 and go from there. It turned out extremely well and I'm very happy they didn't say anything about it. I guess it's different with kids that have parents who play and win money because that makes them want to try as well and that's how it usually starts. I don't think I would let my kids play poker for real money until they were 18 because you can get in so much trouble if you're not careful, and I'm surprised everything worked out for me the way it did.
PSMoney: How many places are there to play live in Norway?
Annette: Not many. Live poker is illegal here, but there are small clubs and private tourneys around that you can join if you just get to know the right people.
PSMoney: Sandnes is pretty small. What do you do when you're not playing poker or in school?
Annette: That's pretty much all I have time for right now, but I try to hang out with my friends and do non-related poker stuff when I can.
We look forward to watching Annette continue to establish herself as commanding presence in the poker world.